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Wei-Hai-Wei

WEI-HAI-WEI, a British naval and coaling station, on the N.E. coast of the Shan-tung peninsula, China, about 40 m. E. of the treaty port of Chi-fu and 115 m. from Port Arthur. It was formerly a Chinese naval station strongly fortified, but was captured by the Japanese in February 1895, and occupied by their troops until May 1898, pending the payment of the indemnity. Port Arthur having in the spring of that year been acquired by the Russian government under a lease from China, a similar lease was granted of Wei-hai-wei to the British government, and on the withdrawal of the Japanese troops the British fleet took possession, the flag being hoisted on the 24th of May 1898. No period was fixed for the termination of the lease, but it was stipulated that it should continue so long as Russia continued to hold Port Arthur. The lease of Port Arthur having been ceded to Japan in September 1905, the British lease of Wei- haiwei was made to run for as long as Japan held Port Arthur.

The harbour is formed by an island named Liu-kung-tao running east and west across the mouth of a small bay, leaving an entrance at each end. Towards the mainland the water shoals, and the best anchorage is under the lee of the island. The native city is walled, and has a population of about 2000. The chief port is named Port Edward; it has good anchorage with a depth of 45 ft. of water. The leased area comprises, besides the harbour and island, a belt of the mainland, 10 English miles wide, skirting the whole length of the bay. The coast line of the bay is some 10 m., and the area thus leased extends to 285 sq. m. Within -this area Great Britain has exclusive jurisdiction, and is represented by a commissioner under the colonial office; and has, besides, the right to erect fortifications, station troops and take any other measures necessary for defensive purposes at any points on or near the coast in that part of the peninsula east of 121 40' E. Within that zone, which covers 1505 sq. m., Chinese administration is not interfered with, but no troops other than Chinese and British are allowed there. The territory consists of rugged hills rising to 1600 ft. and well-cultivated valleys. The hills also, as far as possible, are terraced for cultivation and in some instances are planted with dwarf pine and scrub oak. It contains some 310 villages and a population of about 150,0x30. Chinese war-vessels are at liberty to use the anchorage, notwithstanding the lease; and Chinese jurisdiction may continue to be exercised within the w:illcd city of Wei-hai-wei, so far as not inconsistent with military requirements. Wei-hai-wei was made the headquarters of a n;it ive Chinese regiment in the pay of Great Britain, and organized and led by British officers; but this regiment was disbanded in 1902. Wei-hai-wei is used by the China squadron as a sanatorium and exercising ground. Its excellent climate attracts many visitors. Wei-hai-wei being a free port no duties of any kind are collected there. The import trade consists of timber, maize, paper, crockery, sugar, tobacco, kerosene oil, etc. gold has been found in the territory, and silver, tin, lead and iron are said to exist. In each of the years 1903-1909 the expenditure exceeded the revenue (about $70,000 in 1909-1910), deficits being made good by grants from the British parliament.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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